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Multiple defendants plead guilty to charges in connection with identity fraud ring – The Coastland Times

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Eight defendants pleaded guilty July 1 to offenses contained in a 50-count, 2nd Superseding Indictment charging various forms of bank fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy to commit bank fraud, making false statements to a bank on loan, aggravated identity theft and perjury, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of North Carolina. Two additional defendants previously pleaded guilty in connection with the same scheme.

The indictment charges that defendant Michael Griffin, operating from his business location in Raleigh and home in Knightdale, accepted fees from clients for alleged credit repair services when he was, in reality, creating fictitious credit profiles and fraudulently altering client credit data through the use of fictitious police reports, stated the release.

The indictment further charges that various defendants, many of whom were family, conspired with Griffin to defraud Synchrony Bank, a Lowe’s credit card provider, by opening credit accounts in the name of fraudulent identities, cashing out the accounts through prepaid card purchases and then defaulting on the credit accounts. The indictment also charges various defendants with similar frauds against other banks, including Capital One and Discover.

Regina Griffin (Michael Griffin’s sister), 49, of Raleigh, pleaded guilty to Count 29 of the 2nd Superseding Indictment, which charged false statement to influence a bank on a loan, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1014.  The offense occurred between February 11, 2019 and March 19, 2019 and involved Alcova Mortgage, LLC, according to the release.

Angela Griffin (Michael Griffin’s wife), 53, of Knightdale, pleaded guilty to Count 13 of the 2nd Superseding Indictment, which charged bank fraud and aiding and abetting, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1344 and 2. The offense occurred between November 21, 2017 and December 21, 2017 and involved Synchrony Bank, according to the release.

Creshun Alexandria Griffin (Michael Griffin’s daughter), 27, also of Knightdale, pleaded guilty to Count 16 of the 2nd Superseding Indictment, which charged bank fraud and aiding and abetting, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1344 and 2. The offense occurred between August 11, 2017 and December 31, 2018, and involved Capital One Bank, according to the release.

Sharon Annita Edmond (Michael Griffin’s sister), 57, of Raleigh, pleaded guilty to Count 25 of the 2nd Superseding Indictment, which charged wire fraud and aiding and abetting, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1343 and 2. The offense occurred on or about April 16, 2018 and involved Strategic Funding Partners, doing business as Merchant Cash Group, according to the release.

Katina Griffin Perry (Michael Griffin’s sister), 48, of Raleigh, pleaded guilty to Count 27 of the 2nd Superseding Indictment, which charged wire fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1343. The offense occurred between August 21, 2017 and September 19, 2017 and involved Kia Motor Finance, according to the release.

Harvey Griffin (Michael Griffin’s brother), 47, of Raleigh, pleaded guilty to Count 11 of the 2nd Superseding Indictment, which charged bank fraud and aiding and abetting, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1344 and 2. The offense occurred between October of 2017 and January of 2018 and involved Synchrony Bank, according to the release.

Melvin Griffin (Michael Griffin’s brother), 45, of Knightdale, pleaded guilty to Count 18 of the 2nd Superseding Indictment, which charged bank fraud and aiding and abetting, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1344 and 2. The offense occurred between October 5, 2017 and August 31, 2018 and involved Discover Bank, stated the release.

Jasmine Mariah Davis, 29, of Lakeland, Florida, pleaded guilty to Count 12 of the 2nd Superseding Indictment, which charged bank fraud and aiding and abetting, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1344 and 2. The offense occurred between October of 2017 and February of 2018 and involved Synchrony Bank, stated the release.

Acting United States Attorney G. Norman Acker III stated, “The charges in this case largely involve the use of a false Social Security Number to obtain money, credit, or other valuables, under a false identity.  Synthetic identity frauds such as these often involve the use of what are referred to as “CPNs” or alternate “credit profile numbers.”  These are nothing but fancy sounding terms for Social Security Numbers that do not belong to you.  The public needs to know that when you place a fraudulent Social Security Number or CPN on a bank credit application or loan document – you are committing a fraud, and you could face federal prison time for it.”

The maximum punishment for committing bank fraud and conspiracy to commit bank fraud, violations of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1344 and 1349, is not more than 30 years in prison.  The maximum punishment for wire fraud, a violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1343, is not more than 20 years imprisonment. The maximum punishment for making a false statement to a bank on a loan is not more than 30 years in prison.

Sentencing for each of these defendants are not yet scheduled, but will occur as early as October 2021, according to the release.

Shawn Allen Farmer, 52, of Cary, also named in the 2nd Superseding Indictment, previously pleaded guilty to bank fraud and aiding and abetting, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1344 and 2, and making false claims, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 287. Farmer was sentenced on May 27, 2021 to 15 months in prison and ordered to pay $42,783 in restitution.

Tyrone Edmonds47, of Weldon, also named in the 2nd Superseding Indictment, previously pleaded guilty on February 8, 2021 to Count 6, which charged bank fraud and aiding and abetting, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1344 and 2. The offense involved Synchrony Bank, according to the release. The sentencing is not yet scheduled, but will also occur as early as October of 2021.

Charges against Michael Griffin, Jasper Deonta Goodman and Coscina Brooks, also named in the 2nd Superseding Indictment, remain pending.

“An indictment is an allegation of a crime,” noted the release. “The defendant is presumed under the law to be innocent until proven guilty.”

Acker made the announcement. The investigation was conducted by the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation with the assistance of the United States Marshals Service and the United States Postal Inspection Service. Assistant United States Attorney William M. Gilmore represents the United States.

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Are Sallie Mae Student Loans Federal or Private?

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When you hear the name Sallie Mae, you probably think of student loans. There’s a good reason for that; Sallie Mae has a long history, during which time it has provided both federal and private student loans.

However, as of 2014, all of Sallie Mae’s student loans are private, and its federal loans have been sold to another servicer. Here’s what to know if you have a Sallie Mae loan or are considering taking one out.

What is Sallie Mae?

Sallie Mae is a company that currently offers private student loans. But it has taken a few forms over the years.

In 1972, Congress first created the Student Loan Marketing Association (SLMA) as a private, for-profit corporation. Congress gave SLMA, commonly called “Sallie Mae,” the status of a government-sponsored enterprise (GSE) to support the company in its mission to provide stability and liquidity to the student loan market as a warehouse for student loans.

However, in 2004, the structure and purpose of the company began to change. SLMA dissolved in late December of that year, and the SLM Corporation, or “Sallie Mae,” was formed in its place as a fully private-sector company without GSE status.

In 2014, the company underwent another big adjustment when Sallie Mae split to form Navient and Sallie Mae. Navient is a federal student loan servicer that manages existing student loan accounts. Meanwhile, Sallie Mae continues to offer private student loans and other financial products to consumers. If you took out a student loan with Sallie Mae prior to 2014, there’s a chance that it was a federal student loan under the now-defunct Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP).

At present, Sallie Mae owns 1.4 percent of student loans in the United States. In addition to private student loans, the bank also offers credit cards, personal loans and savings accounts to its customers, many of whom are college students.

What is the difference between private and federal student loans?

When you’re seeking financing to pay for college, you’ll have a big choice to make: federal versus private student loans. Both types of loans offer some benefits and drawbacks.

Federal student loans are educational loans that come from the U.S. government. Under the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program, there are four types of federal student loans available to qualified borrowers.

With federal student loans, you typically do not need a co-signer or even a credit check. The loans also come with numerous benefits, such as the ability to adjust your repayment plan based on your income. You may also be able to pause payments with a forbearance or deferment and perhaps even qualify for some level of student loan forgiveness.

On the negative side, most federal student loans feature borrowing limits, so you might need to find supplemental funding or scholarships if your educational costs exceed federal loan maximums.

Private student loans are educational loans you can access from private lenders, such as banks, credit unions and online lenders. On the plus side, private student loans often feature higher loan amounts than you can access through federal funding. And if you or your co-signer has excellent credit, you may be able to secure a competitive interest rate as well.

As for drawbacks, private student loans don’t offer the valuable benefits that federal student borrowers can enjoy. You may also face higher interest rates or have a harder time qualifying for financing if you have bad credit.

Are Sallie Mae loans better than federal student loans?

In general, federal loans are the best first choice for student borrowers. Federal student loans offer numerous benefits that private loans do not. You’ll generally want to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and review federal funding options before applying for any type of private student loan — Sallie Mae loans included.

However, private student loans, like those offered by Sallie Mae, do have their place. In some cases, federal student aid, grants, scholarships, work-study programs and savings might not be enough to cover educational expenses. In these situations, private student loans may provide you with another way to pay for college.

If you do need to take out private student loans, Sallie Mae is a lender worth considering. It offers loans for a variety of needs, including undergrad, MBA school, medical school, dental school and law school. Its loans also feature 100 percent coverage, so you can find funding for all of your certified school expenses.

With that said, it’s always best to compare a few lenders before committing. All lenders evaluate income and credit score differently, so it’s possible that another lender could give you lower interest rates or more favorable terms.

The bottom line

Sallie Mae may be a good choice if you’re in the market for private student loans and other financial products. Just be sure to do your research upfront, as you should before you take out any form of financing. Comparing multiple offers always gives you the best chance of saving money.

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Tips to do some fall cleaning on your finances

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Wealth manager, Harry Abrahamsen, has five simple ways to stay on top of the big financial picture.

PORTLAND, Maine — Keeping track of our financial stability is something we can all do, whether we have IRAs or 401ks or just a checking account. Harry J. Abrahamsen is the Founder of Abrahamsen Financial Group. He works with clients to create and grow their own wealth. Abrahamsen shares five financial tips, starting with knowing what you have. 

1. Analyze Your Finances Quarterly or Biannually

You want to make sure that your long-term strategy is congruent with your short-term strategy. If the short-term is not working out, you may need to adjust what you are doing to make sure your outcome produces the desired results you are looking to accomplish. It is just like setting sail on a voyage across the Atlantic Ocean. You know where you want to go and plot your course, but there are many factors that need to be considered to actually get you across and across safely. Your finances behave the exact same way. Check your current situation and make sure you are taking into consideration all of the various wealth-eroding factors that can take you completely off course.

With interest rates very low, now might be a good time to consider refinancing student loans or mortgages, or consolidating credit card debt. However, do so only if you need to or if you can create a positive cash flow. To ensure that you are saving the most by doing so, you must look at current payments, excluding taxes and insurance costs. This way you can do an apples-to-apples comparison.

The most important things to look for when reviewing your credit report is accuracy. Make sure the reporting agencies are reporting things actuary. If it doesn’t appear to be reporting correct and accurate information, you should consult with a reputable credit repair company to help you fix the incorrect information.

4. Savings and Retirement Accounts

The most important thing to consider when reviewing your savings and retirement accounts is to make sure the strategies match your short-term and long-term investment objectives. All too often people end up making decisions one at a time, at different times in their lives, with different people, under different circumstances. Having a sound strategy in place will allow you to view your finances with a macro-economic lens vs a micro-economic view. Stay the course and adjust accordingly from a risk and tax standpoint.

RELATED: Financial lessons learned through the pandemic

A great tip for lowering utility bills or car insurance premiums: Simply ask! There may be things you are not aware of that could save you hundreds of dollars every month. You just need to call all of the companies that you do business with to find out about cost-cutting strategies. 

RELATED: Overcome your fear of finances

To learn more about Abrahamsen Financial, click here

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How to Get a Loan Even with Bad Credit

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Sana pwedeng mabura ang bad credit history as quickly and easily as paying off your utility bills, ‘no? Unfortunately, it takes time. And bago mo pa maayos ang bad credit mo, more often than not, kailangan mo na namang mag-avail ng panibagong loan. 

Good thing you can still get a loan even with bad credit, kahit na medyo limited ang options. How do you get a loan if you have bad credit? Alamin sa short guide na ito. 

For more finance tips, visit Moneymax.

 

 

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